Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Off With His Knife!

There was a time when I carried an elaborate Swiss Army Knife everywhere. It was not used for protection. From what was there to need protect? Nope, I used it whenever I was doing a political event and usually it saved my life – but not from a terrorist.

This week, a six year old child was caught in school with something similar and simpler—a Cub Scout knife. Yes, First-grader Zachary Christie was well on his way to a Delaware reform school for 45 days. There is a zero tolerance at his school and he was in violation. Yes, Zachary is a model student and not a troublemaker, but you can’t accommodate a student when the system has rules. Are they kidding? Is there no common sense anymore.?

Maybe if Zachary was in the parking lot shooting up, or shooting at someone. Or if Zachary was riding around in a stolen vehicle, I might get to that place where I would understand a punishment like reform school. Never mind, I wouldn’t ever put a troubled kid in reform school instead of therapy, but that’s not the point.

I’m not saying that because someone is only six, they are not big enough to be disruptive or dangerous. My friend Joyce works in a first to third grade urban school in Philly. The kids do have to go through a magnetometer before they walk into the school. But this is a way to avoid problems rather than send them elsewhere. Teacher and principals and grownups dealing with disciplining children should have to pass a common sense test. Forget English or math. Kids need to have role models with a brain.

I’m no big fan of the Boy Scouts. (I think their homophobia is inexcusable). But I guess Cub Scouts are still young enough to be OK. And although I think the cookies the Girl Scouts sell are overpriced – they are cute in their little outfits with their hard earned badges. I never made it to Girl Scouts. Nope, I didn’t fly up from the Brownies because Mrs. Sturtevant, (the Brownie leader), was anti-semitic and hated my family. But that’s another blob.

Anyway, in order to become a Cub Scout, Zachary had to take an oath and a pledge and swear things to God. just in case you don’t remember yours:

Cub Scout Promise
I, (say your name), promise
To do my DUTY to GOD
And my Country
To HELP other people, and
To OBEY the LAW of the Pack

Law of the Pack

The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

(The pack stuff makes me nervous and who the hell knows what Akela is but nevertheless…)

And the piece of resistance (forget the French) the -- Cub Scout Motto

Who in their right mind would send a kid who did all that swearing to God, to reform school. Put on your big girl panties, people, and act like you have the ability to think like a reasonable adult. You just might be able to pull it off. We’re just sayin’…..Iris

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